Archive for the ‘Seasons’ Category

Supernatural Spring

Nothing displays the virtue of the color green as the season of spring.

Lime green leaves on deciduous trees will turn tomato red come fall. The tips of the forest-green spruce are chartreuse green. The weak-limbed weeping willow trails two-story lacy chains of pale green. Stalwart green spikes hold fading daffodils, and even the most unkempt lawn is verdant.

Green pushes up from the soil and emerges from the branches hanging above.  The greening of the distant treeline allows even ancient half-dead trees to put on a show.

The green is on the land, for a precious few days. Suspended in the air, floating in the shifting light, low clouds, and mist. The birds sing of it, and the hidden frogs pipe its dance in ponds and swales.

Passing too quickly, a few eternal moments, and then gone for another year.

Read Full Post »

The sun glistens on the catkins of Salix discolor—the pussy willow—shining as the overnight frost melts.

Soft, tactile, and strong, the catkins uniformly pack branches of a tree that rivals a nearby spruce in height. Years ago, I harvested its bouquets of catkin wands and gave them away at local schools during the early spring. Over time, I realized the catkins that remained turned brilliant gold as they fill with pollen, offering the first feast of spring to hundreds of beneficial insects.  I do not harvest the wands anymore.

Like so many, the pussy willow has its roots in memory.  This tree is an echo of one I sprouted from a wand and planted in my mother’s garden as a child. I have always felt her in the deep wood of this bush that resides in my garden. But no more.

My mother died in the winter of her life, in the season just passed.  I realized today that her presence has also exited the willow.

Far from empty, the willow is transforming again—from bare branch, to catkin, to flower, and eventually into summertime leaf. Willows are known for their vigorous roots and this bush is well planted.  The wood is no longer of memory, but of self-agency.  Pure life in its own right, unwound from story and seeking the sun and moon of its own journey.

I think my mother would have appreciated that.

Read Full Post »

The dried seed head of Allium cristophii is the size of a small cantaloupe. In bloom, the silvery violet florets create a globe atop a single stem that bears a strong resemblance to stars.  The common name of the bulb is Persian onion or “Star of Persia.”

Dried, the flowers that formed the sphere give way to a multitude of spokes, each ending in a star-shaped array that nestles a tiny niche of seeds within.

One such seed head resides in my office.  Dust is caught in its starry arms, even as its seeds quietly wait.

This seed head was once a magic wand in the hands of my youngest. I remember the last wish he conferred before he grew up and blew away in the autumn wind. That was years ago.

Only the wind can restore magic to this wand, and the seed wishes that remain. Stepping outside, leaves impatiently rustle under foot, the wind is high under a grey sky. I ruffle the seed head. The spokes break, the seeds are released from sleep to continue their long-lost journey, and the stem drops to decay.  Last wishes.

Read Full Post »

Killing Frost

It had to happen.

On this morning, the flowers are more brilliant than before.  Brittle frosted petals, leaves, buds. Deepened color in the autumn garden, a medieval sketch of high linear detail, a confection of final color — red, blue, yellow, green, orange. No feature missed. Paused in perfection, flowers held taut in icy fingers.

With the day, the frost relents, the flowers sag to brown mush. A slow exhalation of the garden into the coming season.  Until next year.

Read Full Post »


Bright burnt-orange and yellow leaves swirl off stories-high maple trees.

Some race upwards as others billow wide on a playful breeze.

Like children released at recess, the leaves seem set to begin a new journey. Summer days and nights in moonlit trees have passed.

Peerless blue sunny sky, the ephemera of autumn.


The sun has set but radiant light lingers about the tops of the trees.  Red-orange canopy doing a slow cha-cha in the evening breeze.

From my ground level office, I can see the changing garden.  No killing frost yet. Roots that steady and sink deep. Still-luminous Zinnias, gold and red.    

Agastache, licorice scented stems and leaves sag, laden with berry pink flowers.

A perfectly timed V-formation of geese passes through.

High in the sky, the maple dresses for autumn as the garden mellows into rich color.

As above, so below.


An afternoon walk in a suburban neighborhood.  Halloween bling every few houses.

A mild breeze, temps in the 70’s, and color on the trees the likes of which have not been seen for years.

Walking the dogs, we scuttle with dry but still colorful leaves down the street.

The perfection is timeless, seamlessness between self and sky that renders human transparent.

These are the moments for which we take on skin—to see and sense with no understanding, no cause or conclusion, nothing but the transitory joy that Is.

Read Full Post »